Summer Policy Institute 2022

SPI 2022 THEME:

Growing a West Virginia that Works for Everyone

July 28–30, 2022

The 2020 Census results revealed that West Virginia experienced more population loss than any other state in the nation between 2010 and 2020. During this year’s SPI, we will create space for our participants to explore what it might take to reverse this trend. What public policies would pull people to West Virginia rather than push them away? What proposals can our lawmakers consider that would make the Mountain State a place where everyone, regardless of their background, can not only survive, but thrive?


The Summer Policy Institute (SPI) is an annual event for undergraduate students, graduate students, and people of all ages interested in bettering West Virginia through policy change.

SPI brings together highly qualified traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students, graduate students, and policy-curious people of all ages to build policy knowledge, leadership skills, and networks. The convening is co-hosted by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and the American Friends Service Committee.

Attendees participate in interactive sessions where they learn the basics of data, policy, and state government and build their organizing and advocacy skills. Throughout the convening, participants work in small teams to identify and develop policy proposals to shape the future they want to see in the Mountain State, culminating in team “policy pitches” to state legislators and policy professionals. Many SPI attendees have gone on to continue advocating for their policy ideas and to hold internships with West Virginia non-profits and in state government.


Due to ongoing public health considerations, SPI 2022 will take place virtually via Zoom from July 28-30.

There will be full days of live content and team work from July 28 through July 30, culminating with the policy pitch competition on the final day. There will also be three “101” sessions offered in the weeks leading up to the start of the three-day convening. While attending these pre-convening 101 sessions live is optional, reviewing the session recordings at your convenience ahead of July 28 is required to be properly prepared for the institute. 

Leading up to the policy pitch competition, teams will develop their policy proposals with support from our coaches and issue area experts, as well as have the opportunity to practice their policy pitches before they present to our judges.

There is no cost to attend, and students can work with professors to receive course credit. It is expected that participants attend all SPI sessions during the three-day convening, and those who successfully do so will receive a stipend of $100 to help mitigate the costs of forgoing a work shift, paying for child care, etc.

If you need accommodations to attend our virtual conference, including help with internet access, please reach out to summerpolicyinstitute@gmail.com.

You’d be a great fit for SPI if you:

  • Are a West Virginian of any age who cares about our state and its people
  • Want to make your community a place where everyone can thrive
  • Fall anywhere from policy-curious to policy expert or in between
  • Are a nerd for data and well-researched ideas
  • Want to learn more about effective issue advocacy
  • Are a great team member
  • Can devote three full days to the institute (see notes above on stipend for completing the institute)   

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